Ford F-150:

Ford Crew Chief Telematics System

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Telematics System for Vehicle Tracking and Management  Ford is offering the Crew Chief telematics system on its fleet vehicles.  Developed by Telogis, Crew Chief is a GPS-based system designed to monitor vehicle activity and improve efficiency.  The Ford Crew Chief system is available on the F-150, F-Series Super Duty, E-Series, Transit and Transit Connect.

Black Box GPSThe Ford Crew Chief system includes a GPS receiver, or black box, mounted out of the way in the instrument panel.  The GPS tracks the vehicle real-time and converts the data received from the vehicle into a visual dashboard that provides an at-a-glance summary of a commercial fleet’s performance.  Knowing how a vehicle is being driven can help fleet management “counsel” drivers on how to improve their driving style and achieve better efficiency.  When driving and vehicle operation improves, insurance rates can drop.

The Ford Crew Chief system measures a wide array of vehicle attributes.  Measuring these attributes can help fleet management anticipate problems and correct them before a serious mechanical failure might occur.

Some of the attributes measured by Crew Chief include:

•  VIN
•  Oil Life (% remaining)
•  Tire Pressure
•  Diagnostic Trouble Codes
•  Engine Coolant Temperatures
•  Water in Fuel of a Diesel-Powered Vehicle
•  Excessive RPM
•  Safety Belt Usage
•  Air Bag Status
•  Battery Charge
•  Excessive Idling
•  Hard Acceleration/Driving

•  Driver Insurance Expiration Date
•  Driver License Expiration Date

Clearly, the fleet can save a lot of money by reducing the time a vehicle is idling or whether or not the driver is abusing the vehicle by revving the engine unnecesarily, accelerating hard and driving hard.

Can Be Very Big Brother  It might sound like Big Brother, but knowing what the driver is doing and where the vehicle is and has been can be a real advantage in managing a fleet.  Here are some of the features Crew Chief can include:

•  Find the Closest Capable Driver
•  Develop Custom Map Overlays
•  Add a Fuel Efficiency Module
•  Satellite Imagery (helps identify landmarks in mapped locations)
•  Provide Real-Time Alerts
•  Provide Turn-by-Turn Directions
•  Fast Mapping
•  Automated Reports
•  Animated Vehicle History Trails
•  Maintenance Reporting
•  Fleet, Driver and Team Management
•  Search (finds any vehicle, driver, location or tagged group, improving asset utilization and making fleet management more efficient)Ford Crew Chief History Map

•  Speeding Alerts (flags when drivers are over the speed limit.  Can help reduce insurance costs)Ford Crew Chief Speeding

Of course, Ford Crew Chief is not free.  There is a monthly fee for each vehicle of $31.99 for the standard package and $39.99 for the professional package.


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Reflections from the Detroit and Chicago Auto Shows

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Has the 2014 Auto Show Season been a bust so far? Well, with the exception of the all new Ford F-150, there has not been much to justify all the fabricated hoopla at either the North American International Auto Show in Detroit or the Chicago Auto Show. You can almost count the significant new news on one hand. In order of importance to the United States market and their manufacturers here are the most significant: Ford F-150, Chrysler 200, Honda Fit, Hyundai Genesis, Mercedes C-Class in Detroit and the Subaru Legacy in Chicago. OK, that is six significant entries. Others that might have made the list are the GMC Canyon mid-size pickup and the Lexus RC-F coupe. The Detroit Show ended up focusing on performance models or concepts like the production-ready Subaru WRX STI, Toyota FT-1 super car, Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 variant, BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe, Cadillac ATS coupe. The only other vehicles of note at the Chicago Show were the 2015 Lincoln Navigator with new front and rear styling and the Mercedes GLA compact crossover SUV.


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Ford F-150 – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal 2012 Large Light Duty Pickup

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

F-150 Dominates Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for IVA Win: The 2012 Ford F-150 comes closest to the ideal of any Large Light Duty Pickup.  The F-150 edges out the second place Chevrolet Silverado 1500 by 41 rating points to win in this class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of F-150 owners rate its exterior size, passenger roominess, exterior styling, driver’s seat comfort and ride and handling ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of F-150 owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  driver’s seat visibility, cargo space, wheels and tires, ease of getting in and out, safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – But None Critical. About 19% of F-150 owners want better infotainment technology.  About 25% of F-150 owners want more interior storage compartments.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/ideal-suvs-pickups-rated-by-owners-in-2012-iva-awards-112117/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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2010 Ford F-150 Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Light-Duty Pickup

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Ford_10_F150_HarleyDavid.jpgThe Ford F-150 came home with almost all the marbles with respect to Vehicle Satisfaction in the Large Pickup segment, including full-size and compact pickup trucks. Of the 48 attributes measured, the F-150 came in first in class (or tied for first) with respect to 45. Pretty impressive, particularly in a segment with some of the most demanding, and most loyal, owners.
It is no wonder that the Ford F-150 is a top seller. When it comes to full-size pickup trucks, clearly Ford knows how to satisfy the customer. The F-150 is perennially one of the best selling vehicles of any kind in the USA, and its top-rated satisfaction scores in so many categories validates Ford’s success in the pickup segment.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.


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2009 Ford F-150 Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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“The all new Ford F-150 wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for Full-Size Pickups. F-150 owners are also most likely to recommend their truck to friends or relatives — an indication of how confident they are with their truck,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Ford has been perfecting the half-ton pickup for decades and the latest generation of F-150 shows that Ford has not slipped. They understand the pickup buyer more than anyone and they deliver.” Leading characteristics include:
* Exterior styling
* Passenger room
* Technology level
* Handling09F150_KR_78FrtPs_IVA.jpg


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2007 Toyota Tundra – The Breakthrough Expected?

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Arguably the biggest news at the Chicago Auto Show was the first glimpse of the all new 2007 Toyota Tundra pickup. Well, maybe it was not arguably, but absolutely the biggest news. Can Toyota be stopped? Will the Tundra gut the family jewels of the Big Three chipping away at the last remaining profitable units in the Silverado, Ram and F-Series lineups? Is the Tundra a breakthrough in full size pickup design? Has Toyota finally fielded a fully competitive pickup? Lots of questions were answered at Chicago and many remain to be answered. VehicleVoice correspondents and AutoPacific analysts were on hand to see the reveal of the Tundra first hand.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA President Jim Press Pitching the New Tundra
Clearly the new Tundra is a substantially stronger competitor than the present Tundra. It is larger and will have a 5.7L V8 available as its top powertrain. With a larger displacement than the Nissan Titan, it is expected the Tundra V8 will get about 325HP although power numbers were not provided. The Tundra 4×4 shown on the stand can tow 10,000 pounds which should be class-leading among half-ton pickups. But many people were expecting the new Tundra to be a breakthrough product. They were expecting a new benchmark for full size pickups. They were expecting Tundra to be 105% of a typical half ton pickup.
What they got was maybe 101% or 102%. Nice truck. But not as muy macho as the FT-X Concept Truck of 2004.


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Titan Top Ranked Vehicle, Truck, Big Pickup in AutoPacific's 2005 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

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Nissan Titan Wins AutoPacific 2005 Large Light-Duty Pickup Vehicle Satisfaction Award

AutoPacific VSA Blog.jpg

Owners of the 2005 Nissan Titan rate the pickup not only at the top of its Large Light-Duty Pickup category, but also as the top rated vehicle overall. This is an outstanding accomplishment and testament to the satisfaction Titan is giving its owners.
Titan’s achievement is truly remarkable and demonstrates the inherent differences in AutoPacific’s way of measuring satisfaction compared with others. Titan is immensely satisfying, but owner surveys conducted by others show Titan has a fair share of niggling problems. But, if you are not counting things gone wrong and looking at what really matters – how well buyers are satisfied – Titan shines. Its big, powerful V8 engine combined with outstanding styling and features provide the top-satisfying product package for 2005.
“We cannot ignore that two large trucks produced at Nissan’s Canton Mississippi assembly plant won top place in their categories for 2005 – Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada. Nissan’s third large truck – the luxury Infiniti QX56 also rated very well. This is a sweep any company can be envious of.
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are given to top rated vehicles for satisfaction in their vehicle category based on owner responses to an annual national mail survey.


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